Tatjana Ždanoka

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Tatjana Ždanoka
Member of the European Parliament
Assumed office
July 2004
Constituency Latvia
Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia
Member of Parliament
for Riga 40th district
In office
May 1990 – June 1993
Personal details
Born (1950-05-08) 8 May 1950 (age 67)
Riga, Latvia
Citizenship USSR (until 1991)
stateless (1991—1996)
Latvia (since 1996)
Political party Latvian Russian Union/LRU (since 2014)
For Human Rights in a United Latvia/ForHRUL (2007–2014)
Equal Rights (1993–2007)
Communist Party of Latvia (1971—1991)
Other political
European Free Alliance
Alma mater University of Latvia
Profession mathematician
Awards Orden of Friendship.png

Tatyana Arkadyevna Zhdanok, (Russian: Татья́на Арка́дьевна Ждано́к; Latvian: Tatjana Ždanoka), born May 8, 1950 in Riga, is a Latvian politician and Member of the European Parliament. She is co-Chairwoman of the Latvian Russian Union and sits with the European Greens–European Free Alliance group. In the period of time of 1988 -1989 she was one of the leaders of the Interfront, a political organization opposing Latvia's independence from the Soviet Union and too rapid market reforms. She remained active in the Communist Party of Latvia after January 1991, when the party leadership called for a coup against the government of the Latvian SSR (in opposition to a restoration of independence). In 1997 Tatjana Ždanoka was elected to Riga municipal council. In 1999 she was deprived of the mandate in the Council and is prohibited from further nominating for election to the Latvian Parliament or local councils under Latvian law due to her former allegiance with the Communist Party after January 1991. She is (with Alfrēds Rubiks) in the peculiar position of being restricted to Europarliament elections.[1] Zhdanok has been co-chairman of the LRU and its predecessors since 2001.


Born in Riga, Zhdanok is of mixed Latvian Jewish - Russian origin. The family of her father decimated by Latvian Nazi collaborators during World War II.[2]

Zhdanok became politically active in the late 1980s, at first a member of the Popular Front, she soon became one of the leaders of the Interfront, a political organization opposing Latvia's independence from the Soviet Union and too rapid market reforms. Prior to that, she taught mathematics at the University of Latvia, where she received her doctorate in mathematics in 1992. In 1989, she was elected to the Riga city Soviet, and in 1990, to the Supreme Soviet of the Latvian SSR. Zhdanok was also active with the Communist Party of Latvia but never belonged to this party nomenclature.

From 1995 till 2004 Zhdanok was co-chairman of the Latvian Human Rights Committee (a member of FIDH).[3] She has also been one of the leaders of Equal Rights since it foundation in 1993 and of the For Human Rights in United Latvia alliance.

In 1999 Ždanoka was banned from running for the Latvian parliament Saeima and deprived of her seat on Riga city council, because she had participated in two seats of the Communist Party's Audit Committee after the party leadership called for a coup against the elected government of the Latvian SSR in January 1991. Subsequently she sued Latvia in the European Court of Human Rights.

With the court case pending, the Latvian parliament decided not to impose restrictions on former members of the Communist Party in the 2004 European Parliament elections. Zhdanok was elected to the European Parliament in June 2004 and won the court case a few days later with a margin of 5-2. Latvia appealed the decision to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that Latvia's emergence from totalitarian rule brought about by the occupation of Latvia had not been sufficiently taken into account, and on March 16, 2006, the court ruled 13-4 that Zhdanok's rights had not been violated. The Court also called the Latvian legislature for "work actively on cancelling such restrictions".

In 2005 Zhdanok became one of the founders of the EU Russian-Speakers' Alliance.[4]

In 2004, she ran successfully for MEP as a candidate of the largest Russian political bloc in Latvia.[5] She also won a seat in 2009.[1] In the European Parliament she is a member of the fraction The Greens–European Free Alliance.

Ždanoka took part in the election observation of the controversial Crimean referendum in 2014.[6] In May, she suggested to the European Council to classify Ukrainian political bloc Right Sector as a "terrorist organization."[7]

A submission has been made by another Latvian MEP, Kārlis Šadurskis, to the Latvian state prosecutor to investigate Ždanoka for treasonous activities against Latvia and other sovereign states. In his submission, Mr Šadurskis pointed to her participation at events organised by "Essence of Time" («Sutj Vremenji» «Суть Времени»).[8] The application of Šadurskis was rejected by Security Police which didn't find a crime in Ždanoka's actions.[9]

Tatjana Ždanoka was elected as a member of the European Parliament in 2004, 2009 and 2014.


The Jamestown Foundation's Vladimir Socor has called her a "radical" opposed to Latvian national statehood.[5]


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